Funchal, Madeira Travel Guide

Author: Crystal
Author: Crystal

“The most beautiful in the world is, of course, the world itself.” - Wallace Stevens

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Travel Guide for Funchal, Madeira

Botanical garden in Funchal, Madeira island, Portugal

Funchal is the capital and largest city of Madeira, an archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a vibrant and charming city that offers a mix of historical charm, natural beauty, and modern amenities.

Its historic Old Town features cobbled streets and colorful houses, while beautiful gardens like Monte Palace Tropical Garden and Botanical Garden offer tranquil escapes. The cable car ride to Monte provides breathtaking views. Enjoy fresh seafood and sample famous Madeira wine at waterfront restaurants and bars. The marina adds a touch of sophistication.

Funchal hosts vibrant events, including the Flower Festival and Carnival, filling the streets with lively parades and music. Explore the Farmers’ Market and discover traditional crafts. With its natural beauty, cultural richness, and various activities, Funchal is an alluring destination for an unforgettable experience in Madeira.

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Getting There:

Getting to Funchal from the UK is easy, with several airlines offering direct flights from major British airports to Madeira’s Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport. Upon arrival, you’ll find various transportation options available at the airport, including taxis, private transfers, and car rentals, allowing you to easily reach your accommodation in Funchal.

How to get around Funchal and How much it might cost?

Taxis are readily available in most urban areas and can be used for short trips within towns or for longer journeys across the island. Taxi drivers can also serve as tour guides if you prefer a more personalized experience.

Taxi fares start at around AUD 5 to AUD 10, and the cost per kilometer is approximately AUD 2 to AUD 3. Longer trips will naturally cost more.

Renting a car is one of the most convenient ways to explore Madeira, especially if you want to visit remote areas or take scenic drives along the coast and through the mountains. The road network is generally well-maintained, but some mountain roads can be narrow and winding.

Renting a car can cost around AUD 40 to AUD 100 per day, depending on the type of vehicle and rental duration. Fuel costs should also be factored in.

Yes, Uber is now operating in Madeira.

You can also try the local add called Bolt

Madeira has an extensive and reliable public bus system operated by Horários do Funchal. Buses connect most towns and villages, making it an economical option for traveling around the island.

The cost of a one-way bus ticket in Madeira is generally around AUD 2 to AUD 5. Multi-journey cards or day passes may offer more economical options for frequent travelers.

Various tour companies offer guided bus tours and excursions to popular destinations and attractions on the island. This option can be ideal for travelers who want a hassle-free and informative experience.

Guided bus tours and excursions can vary widely in price depending on the length and type of tour. On average, expect to pay around AUD 50 to AUD 150 per person for a half-day or full-day tour.

If you prefer a more adventurous and flexible way to get around, consider renting a motorbike or scooter.

Renting a motorbike or scooter can cost approximately AUD 30 to AUD 70 per day, depending on the type of vehicle and rental duration.

Ferries connect Madeira to Porto Santo Island, and boat tours are available for dolphin and whale watching or exploring the coastline.

The cost of a ferry ticket from Madeira to Porto Santo Island is around AUD 60 to AUD 100 for a round trip. Boat tours for dolphin and whale watching or coastal exploration can range from AUD 50 to AUD 100 per person.

Stall Mercado dos Lavradores


Shopping in the city of Funchal offers a captivating blend of old-world charm and modern conveniences. Explore the historic Old Town (Zona Velha) with its cobbled streets and boutique shops offering traditional crafts and unique souvenirs. The bustling Funchal Farmers’ Market (Mercado dos Lavradores) presents an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and local products.

For contemporary shopping, visit modern centers like La Vie and Dolce Vita Funchal, featuring international brands and diverse retail options. Whether seeking traditional delights or modern treasures, Funchal promises an enriching shopping experience amidst its picturesque surroundings.

Places to Shop in Funchal


For diving enthusiasts, Funchal offers an array of underwater adventures. The crystal-clear waters surrounding Madeira are teeming with marine life, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore vibrant coral reefs, caves, and shipwrecks. Dive sites like Garajau Marine Park and Ponta de São Lourenço are particularly popular, offering diverse marine ecosystems and breathtaking underwater landscapes.

Madeira Beaches that we recommend...

The Highlights:

Funchal offers a range of tours and activities to satisfy every interest. Take a cable car ride up to Monte for panoramic views of the city and enjoy a thrilling toboggan ride back down. Visit the enchanting Monte Palace Tropical Garden or explore the historic Old Town (Zona Velha) with its charming cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and local markets.

Sightseeing opportunities in Funchal are plentiful. Don’t miss a visit to the magnificent São Tiago Fortress, which now houses the Contemporary Art Museum. Explore the beautiful botanical gardens of Jardim Botânico and enjoy the scenic vistas from Pico do Arieiro, Madeira’s third-highest peak.

Monte Palace Tropical Garden

Things to do in Funchal

Funchal with traditional cable car above the city

Funchal Cable Car

Enjoy stunning views of Funchal. Approximately AUD 25 to AUD 30 for a round trip.

Madeira - Monte - toboggan ride

Monte Toboggan Run

Experience a thrilling descent. Approximately AUD 20 to AUD 25 per person.

Botanical garden in Funchal, Madeira island, Portugal

Madeira Botanical Garden

Explore a volcanic cave system. Entrance fees around AUD 10 to AUD 15 per person.

CR7 museum - Funchal - Madeira

Cristiano Ronaldo Museum (CR7 Museum)

Discover the footballer's legacy. Approximately AUD 10 to AUD 15 per person for entry.

Two glasses of Madeira wine, two cups of fresh espresso coffee and traditional Portuguese honey and nut dessert bolo de mel in cafe with view to Funchal town, Madeira, Portugal

Madeira Wine Tasting

Sample famous Madeira wine. Costs vary depending on wine and location, around AUD 10 to AUD 30.

Magic Dolphin

Magic Dolphin specializes in dolphin and whale watching tours on the island of Madeira. Approximately AUD 60 to AUD 100 per person.

Two glasses of Madeira wine, two cups of fresh espresso coffee and traditional Portuguese honey and nut dessert bolo de mel in cafe with view to Funchal town, Madeira, Portugal


Food lovers will delight in Funchal’s culinary scene. The city boasts numerous restaurants and eateries offering a variety of dishes. Taste traditional Madeiran cuisine at restaurants like Restaurante Do Forte or O Tasco, where you can savor specialties such as espada com banana (scabbard fish with banana) or espetada (skewered meat). Don’t forget to sample the famous Madeira wine, a fortified wine produced on the island.

Restaurants to try when visiting Funchal

Weather Madeira


The best time to visit Funchal is during the spring and autumn months when the weather is pleasant, and the island is less crowded. However, Madeira enjoys a mild climate year-round, making it a fantastic destination for winter escapes as well.

Weather Seasons in Madeira:

Summer in Madeira is warm and relatively dry. Temperatures typically range from 20°C to 27°C (68°F to 81°F) during the day. Rainfall is minimal during this time, and the island enjoys plenty of sunshine. It is the peak tourist season, and many visitors come to enjoy the beautiful beaches, outdoor activities, and festivals.

Winter in Madeira is cooler and more humid compared to the summer months. Temperatures usually range from 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F) during the day. While it can rain quite a bit during this season, it is still relatively mild compared to many other European destinations. The island’s lush greenery thrives during this time, making it a beautiful time to explore nature and enjoy the island’s landscapes.


In conclusion, Funchal offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, making it an ideal destination for British travelers. Whether you’re diving into the azure waters, exploring historic sites, indulging in delicious cuisine, or simply enjoying the breathtaking landscapes, Funchal will undoubtedly leave you with cherished memories of a remarkable holiday in Madeira.

Funchal with traditional cable car above the city

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Portugal Tourist & Visa Information

As an Australian tourist, you do not need a visa to enter Portugal. 

Under the Schengen Convention, Australian citizens intending to travel to any Schengen country*, for a holiday or business, are authorised to stay in the Schengen zone for a maximum total of 90 days, without a visa, during any six month period.

90 Day visa reasons:

  • business purposes
  • visiting friends and family
  • tourism and holidays
  • cultural and sports events
  • airport transit and transit for seafarers
  • official visit
  • medical reasons
  • short-term study and research purposes.

After spending 90 days in the Schengen countries, travellers are required to remain out of the Schengen area for a period of at least 180 days before they can re-enter.

* Countries part of the Schengen Convention: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovak Republic, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain)

  • When entering the Schengen Area, you must present a valid passport.
  • Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the Schengen Area.
  • Make sure you get a clear entry stamp in your passport when you enter the Schengen Area for the first time. Without a stamp, you could be fined or detained.
  • Some countries need you to register with local authorities within 3 days of arrival.

Note: Please double-check the above links and requirements before making travel arrangements, as they are subject to change. travel advice is to exercise normal safety precautions. All COVID-19 travel restrictions for entry into Portugal have been removed, and face masks are no longer required.

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